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Another Extreme switch under the microscope

Apr 27, 20042 mins
Network SwitchesNetworking

* Tolly Group puts high-end Extreme Networks switch through tests

After I recently highlighted a Tolly Group report on an Extreme Networks LAN switch, I was informed that the testing organization tried out another Extreme switch at the same time.

The Extreme BlackDiamond 10808 is a chassis-based device a bit higher up the food chain – in fact, Extreme says it’s a service provider-level switch at enterprise-level prices. In that vein, Tolly (as commissioned by Extreme) tested the switch’s ability to withstand stressful situations – looking at how it handles recovery and failover, for instance, or how well it was able to continue to do its thing while fending off denial-of-service attacks.

The results were positive. The BlackDiamond 10K was able to recover from induced failures in milliseconds, and as Tolly says, “in some cases with zero measurable impact.” The “induced failures” included a power supply hot-swap, a fan tray hot-swap, a management and switch fabric module hot-swap, and an Ethernet Automatic Protection Switching ring link failure.

Simulated VoIP calls were going through the switch during all this. But the failures did not drop the quality of the sound significantly.

Tolly also subjected the switch to a battery of events intended to tax the resources of the switch processor. The testers threw a couple of denial-of-service attacks at it, had it process tens of thousands of access control list entries, and made it process a million BGP routes. Voice quality was unaffected.

Will enterprises need this kind of resiliency? It might put their minds at ease when they move their networks to VoIP – from a relatively stable voice network to IP, a network not originally built for voice.

For the complete report (it’s free), go to: